Gareth Barry believes Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea will be a battle between two evenly-matched teams.
The Blues’ England midfielder says both sides have a trio of creative midfielders who can hurt the opposition and often use similar formations and the battle of the play-makers could be the key to who makes the final.
“If you look at their players they do have a similar style to ours and they have flair to their game too, with players like Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard whereas we have David Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure, so we’re pretty well matched up,” observed Barry.
“I don’t think we will have any psychological edge because of past results this season – in the FA Cup, history and form go out of the window and it’s all about who delivers the goods on the day. If you look at Chelsea’s cup record in recent years, they’ve been fantastic and have won a lot of trophies so it will be a hard game.
“We go into the game with confidence high after winning at Old Trafford and we just need to focus on our own game and making sure that’s right. Beating United means we’ll go into the game in the right mood and that can’t do any harm.”
Barry also believes the Blues, like Chelsea, have plenty of big game players who won’t be fazed by playing at Wembley.
City are playing their fourth game at the home of English football in less than two years, so are becoming used to the venue – not to mention the fact the Blues have six players who have played for England among the current playing staff.
“There’s not too much difference – whether you play for club or country it’s always a privilege to play at Wembley and the pitch and the stadium always feels so much bigger than anywhere else,” he said.
“We have plenty of players with lots of Wembley experience so we’re looking forward to Sunday.
“I think the last semi-final and final in 2011 were on a par in terms of enjoyment because it had been so long since we not only reached the final, but gone on and won it, that it was always going be a massive event and to beat United along the way obviously made it even better.
“It was a great atmosphere before and after the game and to see our fans celebrating like that was a huge lift both before and during the game – we hope to give our fans a similar opportunity to celebrate on Sunday.”
Whoever does reach the Final Tie, Barry believes the winners must respect the opposition who will inevitable take on the tag of underdogs on the day.
“It’s important we show the other semi-finalists respect because people have been claiming our game with Chelsea is the final,” he said.
“Wigan have shown on their day they can beat anyone – as they did when they beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park – and though we don’t know that much about Millwall, they’ve got to this stage so they must have something about them, too.”
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